The Japanese lunar probe "Kaguya" has successfully placed itself on thew Moon orbit. The ship will explore the lunar surface for the next year, the Japanese news agency Jaxa informs, quoted by the international media.

China is expected to launch its own moon probe by the end of the year, and India is to follow with an unmanned lunar mission in 2008, Associated Press reports.

Japanese officials claim the $279 million Selenological and Engineering Explorer — or SELENE — is the largest lunar mission since the U.S. Apollo program in terms of overall scope and ambition, outpacing the former Soviet Union's Luna program and NASA's Clementine and Lunar Prospector projects. according to an AP report.